Calypso St. Barth is starting the process of liquidating all of its inventory with sales at its remaining stores, which will soon close permanently.
Retail liquidators Tiger Group and Great American Group are overseeing the liquidation process through going-out-of-business sales of about $15 million in inventory at Calypso’s 16 remaining locations in the U.S. Nine stores have already been closed and the sales look to be available online as well.
A company representative could not be reached for comment.
The move to liquidate came only about a month after a group of four Calypso creditors forced the brand into Chapter 7 bankruptcy, saying they were owed more than $800,000. KeyBank National Association on Monday loaned bankruptcy trustee Charles Forman $2.3 million for liquidation costs, according to court records.
At this time, Calypso’s intellectual property assets, like its business name and web address, are not a part of the bankruptcy sale, and it’s unclear what will become of them. According to a lawyer for the group of creditors, Kenneth Rosen, the IP is part of a separate holding company apparently affiliated with investment fund Solera Capital, Calypso’s operator.
Rosen said that right now, the trustee is “Not embarking on a full-fledged marketing of the IP because there are issues that will need to be litigated or settled.”
“But there has been a ton of interest in the IP, a surprising amount of interest actually — a private shoe label, a retailer, and then people who just want to license the name,” Rosen added. “If you speak to anyone involved [in the bankruptcy], I think they’ll say they’ve been pleasantly surprised by the amount of interest in the IP.”
Calypso founder Calypso Christiane Celle sold a majority stake to Solera in 2007, when the brand already operated 30 stores and was nearing $60 million in sales. The working relationship wasn’t a happy one, however, and Celle left the company within a year, saying she was unable to “maintain the exacting standards” of her brand under Solera.
The brand carried on over the next decade, but more recent trends in retail, including a shift to online shopping and marketing, seem to have left Calypso in the lurch. But it’s not the only one to have struggled after making a deal with private equity.
Mall-based brands seem particularly affected by bankruptcy, like The Limited, Wet Seal and even Sears Canada, all of which were at least partially backed by private equity and liquidated over the last year. Others to go into bankruptcy this year include Aéropostale, True Religion, Rue 21, BCBG Max Azria and Agent Provocateur, which all reorganized by closing stores and cutting staff, or selling IP to the highest bidder.
Charming Charlie is the most recent to file and is set to close 100 stores and consider selling some assets, but expects to emerge from bankruptcy within 100 days.
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